3 Best Water Filter Pitchers (Our Reviews for 2018)

Nearly half of adults don't drink enough water to stay properly hydrated.

People who drink more water generally consume less soda, alcohol and energy drinks. They tend to have better diets and be healthier overall. If you don't like the tap water at home, water filter pitchers could be the thing that encourages you to drink more.

What are the Best Water Filter Pitchers?

Don't have time to read the entire review? Then check out this our picks for the best filter pitcher...

Pitcher Brand

Wins ...

Our Rating

Best Overall

Largest Capacity

Most Affordable

How to Drink More Water

Dehydration is a widespread problem. It can lead to complaints of dry skin, headaches and joint pain. Prolonged dehydration can cause kidney damage and serious health concerns.

Many people don't drink enough because they don't like the taste of the tap water that their local utilities provide. Municipal water is treated frequently with chlorine to kill bacteria.

It may also contain a number of potentially harmful and even carcinogenic substances that discourage residents from consuming water regularly. Lately, a few towns have made headlines because their water is cloudy, brown and has a bad taste, yet officials say that it's safe to drink. Rusty water mains and old lead pipes can also affect water quality.

Facts about Water Filter Pitchers

If your tap water has an unpleasant taste or if you want to get in the habit of drinking more water, a filter pitcher could help. Commercial pitcher systems use disposable cartridges that contain a combination of activated carbon and ion-exchange resins. This is how they work.

  • Activated carbon made from heat-treated coconut shells is an absorbent. It is exceptionally porous and has a large surface area that can trap organic contaminants.
  • The carbon filtration media is paired with plastic polymer beads. The specially treated resin can trade ions with electrically charged particles. This process neutralizes toxins by changing their composition.

Carbon filters absorb the taste and smell of chlorine. They can reduce levels of copper, cadmium, zinc and mercury. Additionally, they help to remove pesticides and pharmaceutical contaminants.

Filter pitchers are intended for storage in the refrigerator. If they are kept on the counter, the water should be consumed or replaced within a few days. Products in this category vary in their appearance and design, but the key of the water pitcher filter lies with the filter.

Using Water Filter Pitchers

If you've used water filter pitchers in the past, you may remember soaking the cartridges before use and finding carbon granules in the filtered water. The good news is that designs have improved.

With some brands, you simply run the cartridge under water for 15 or 20 seconds. If granules appear during the first few refills, you can always water plants with it.

Cost and Benefits

Most pitchers cost between $25 and $50 and come with one cartridge to get you started. Replacement filters cost between $8 and $12 each, so it could be more economical to purchase a multi-pack. Activated carbon filters lose their effectiveness over time. Manufacturers recommend replacing the filter after every 40 gallons or two months of use.

It's estimated that one cartridge can replace 300 pint-sized water bottles, which saves money and reduces plastic waste. Let's take a look at three of the most popular models based on size, cost and contaminant removal.

1. Pur 18-Cup Water Dispenser

Pur offers one of the largest water filtering containers on the market. Its 18-cup filtering water dispenser is attractive and moderately priced. This model has a horizontal configuration with a crock-style spigot.

The unit holds just over a gallon of filtered water. It could be suited for larger families, people who drink a lot of water or those who use filtered water for cooking and for filling pets' bowls.

This dispenser is not advertised as being free from bisphenol A (BPA), but representatives claim that the dispenser is made from an acrylic polymer. The lid is made from polystyrene, and the filters are made from polypropylene. The recycling numbers are seven, six and five respectively. The components are recyclable if your local facility accepts these plastics.

The Filters

Pur filters still need to be soaked for 15 minutes before use. The Maxion design includes coconut-based activated carbon that absorbs organic compounds and pollutants. It also features ion-exchange granules. Each filter contains some 200,000 square feet of surface area for trapping contaminants.

The brand states that its filters remove 99 percent of lead and 95 percent of mercury. It claims to minimize the odor and taste of chlorine while reducing levels of 21 common contaminants, including pharmaceutical pollutants and microbial cysts. In fact, Pur says that it offers the only filters that are certified to remove microbial cysts, which are dormant forms of giardia, cryptosporidium and other pathogens. As with similar activated carbon products, the filters perform well for two months or 40 gallons.

All in all, the Pur 18-cup dispenser might be a good choice for consumers who are seeking a filter system with a large capacity. However, because it holds 18 cups of water, it can be heavy when full.



  • It fits nicely in the sink and fridge. Refrigerator shelves may need to be adjusted to accommodate the container's 10-inch height.
  • The housing is easy to clean.
  • The dispenser and filters are recyclable.
  • The large size is suitable for families and people who use more water for drinking and cooking.
  • Filters achieve good results and remove one-third of total dissolved solids.
  • The larger size is suitable for filling smaller reusable containers if desired.
  • The container may seem heavy when filled.
  • The cover does not lock in place because a vent is needed for easy dispensing.
  • Pur filters are slightly more expensive than other brands.
  • The list price for a pack of two replacement filters is $20 although it's possible to find more competitive prices.
  • Filters can stop working due to air bubbles that are trapped in the media. This problem can be corrected by removing the filter, turning it upside down and shaking it briskly for five seconds.
  • The unit lacks a digital filter replacement reminder. Since the container holds just over a gallon of water, refills can be tracked easily.

The German brand Brita is perhaps the best-known maker of water filter pitchers. The company has sold water filters in Europe for nearly 50 years and was one of the first companies to offer these products in the United States. For some 20 years, Brita's products were licensed and distributed by Clorox, but the company has since reclaimed its rights.

As the name implies, the Everyday model is an affordable pitcher with basic features that are designed for daily use. Because it doesn't have a digital filter reminder, users are encouraged to track the number of refills or replace the filter every two months. The design is simple and easy to use. The lid on this filter pitcher doesn't lock in place, so pouring must be done with care. The company has listened to its customers and plans to release Everyday pitchers with covers that fit tightly. Packages will be marked as new and improved.

The Filters

This model uses Brita's standard pitcher and dispenser filters, so consumers can get Brita's filtration results at a competitive price. The filters are readily available and come in multi-packs. If you haven't used this type of pitcher lately, you'll be happy to learn that the company's filter designs have improved. Today's Brita filters don't need to be soaked. All you need to do is run the filter under tap water for 15 seconds.

The filter contains activated carbon made from coconut shells. The proprietary media removes organic contaminants as well as the taste and smell of chlorine. Carbon is combined with white ion-exchange granules. These polymer beads have a large surface area and help to remove metals and heavy metals that are found in drinking water. Brita recommends changing the filter after two months or 40 gallons of use. Since the pitcher has a 10-cup capacity, the filter should be changed after 64 refills.



  • The Everyday filter pitcher is the bestselling product in this category.
  • Brita's new filters purify water faster and don't require soaking.
  • Filters are competitively priced and easy to find.
  • The features are simple.
  • There's no need to worry about digital filter meters getting wet or failing.
  • The 10-cup capacity could be practical for individuals and families.The container and filters are free from BPA.
  • The unit is made from styrene-based plastic. It's not recyclable, but it is free from leaching chemicals.
  • Storage is easy thanks to the pitcher's compact oval footprint. It measures approximately 11 inches tall, 10.5 inches long and 5.6 inches wide.
  • The Everyday pitcher does not have a flap covering the spout as other Brita models do.
  • Filtered water should not be poured until the top reservoir is empty.
  • The Everyday pitcher does not have a digital filter change reminder.
  • The hollow handle fills with water and is difficult to clean.
  • Water may leak out if the pitcher is overfilled.
  • It's difficult to remove the reservoir for cleaning since there is no handle or tab for lifting.
  • Although Brita advertises its improved filter design, granules may still leak into the water.

Mavea is a Brita subsidiary that has been offering filter pitchers to North American consumers since 2009. Its products are designed and manufactured in Germany. Mavea has positioned itself as a premium brand that claims to offer next-generation filtration technology, superior construction and enhanced designs.

The Mavea Elemaris XL is intended to be a stylish fridge-to-table pitcher. It's available in black or white and three trendy colors, including orange, magenta and purple.

It has a soft rubber handle for easy gripping and a molded bottom with non-skid, non-scratch feet. A digital meter embedded in the lid provides real-time data about the filter's life based on filtration volume, time and water hardness. Another unique feature is the pitcher's automatic filling port. Pressure from your faucet's water flow automatically opens a portal in the lid for hands-free refills.

The Filters

The Elemaris XL holds nine cups of filtered water, which is 2.25 quarts. It uses Maxtra filters that are available in one- two- and three-packs according to the manufacturer. The cost is comparable to filters offered by Brita and competing brands although they are supposed to deliver superior results.

Environmentally conscious consumers may appreciate the brand's filter recycling program. Mavea will pay for consumers to ship back at least six name-brand filters. Each part of the filter is recycled or reused so that there is zero landfill waste. Recycling bins are placed at select retail locations.

The manufacturer says that the filters feature a micromesh that prevents carbon granules from entering the water, which is a common problem with water filter pitchers. The filter media contains silver particles that inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. Another advertised feature is a flow control system that provides consistent filtration speeds over the life of the filter. Unlike other products, Maxtra filters purportedly reduce limescale by sequestering calcium and minerals found in hard water.



  • Soaking is not required to activate the filter.
  • The filters claim to remove more contaminants than competing products.
  • The pitcher and reservoir are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
  • Thanks to its stylish design, the pitcher can be displayed on the table or in the kitchen.
  • The unit is designed and manufactured in Germany.
  • Staff members are courteous and will send free replacement meters.
  • The digital meter is not waterproof.
  • The Maxtra does not remove all particles.
  • The pour-through flap is wobbly.

The Winner

Overall, the Mavea Elemaris XL has an excellent combination of features. It's compact but holds enough water to serve a family or a table of guests. For a premium product, the initial investment and ongoing costs are not much higher compared to conventional Brita or Pur products.

The filters remove more contaminants, including limescale, which is an attractive feature since 85 percent of American have hard water. Unlike its competitors, the Elemaris XL is certified to remove the taste and odor of chlorine. Consumers may prefer this product because it is manufactured in Germany rather than Mexico or China.

When the filters are recycled, there's zero waste. This water filter pitcher not only reduces waste from disposable water bottles. The filters don't generate waste either if they're sent back to the factory. The Elemaris XL is a good value with nice aesthetics and better filtration. Since each filter lasts for 64 refills, it costs just 16 cents to produce one pitcher of clean water. Although there might be better options for consumers who want to filter large quantities of water, the Mavea Elemaris XL beats the competition in almost all other areas.

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